The idea of this movie intrigued me for a couple of reasons. First, I grew up in the Tampa Bay area and remember going to the Clearwater Marine Science Center / Aquarium as a teen, and since I think that the TB area has not been represented nearly enough in movies, I am always curious what kind of production will choose to represent the area. The other big reason is probably the fact that both Morgan Freeman and Harry Connick Jr. are in the same movie together. Both are very likable individuals. Throw in a dolphin and it's like: "how is this all gonna work?" Well, I can say that they elevate this movie to a much higher ranking than it would have likely been without them.
What does work is the message of the movie. It is truly an inspiring story. Its almost hard to believe that these events happened the way they did, and it makes you wonder how much of it is "based" on a true story. As it is, the movie is just OK. Too bad because it could have been a classic! There are moments where the movie elevates to high levels of emotion, only to bring most adults to near-gagging, due to just plain trying too hard.. In fact, most of what is good in this movie is the fact that key elements and characters (especially Winter the dolphin) are real. What holds it back is that after starting to like the movie's genuine qualities of the characters, you get rewarded every time with something out of a cheesy play-book that was written somewhere in the '80s and has since only shown up on cable movies of the week and straight to video Disney DVDs. Its really too bad though. As I said, this could have been a classic. It could have been timeless! All it had to do was steer straight and keep it real. The kids wouldn't have liked the movie any less and it could have been something they would love again as adults.
See it in 3D? Many, I think probably believe that 3D for this type of movie would be unnecissary. I must say that if you feel like this kind of story is right for you and you already like 3D, then the 3D could really make the experience better. In fact, for me it made the movie better than it would have been without it. Only a couple of short scenes were a tad overdone, in my opinion; that being the blueprint scene and the RC helicopter scene, which were also 2 of my least favorite scenes in the movie, by the way. Agian, there are probably many who only want those kind of pop-out scenes for 3D to make 3D worth it. I just happen to really like natural-looking 3D, even though I see its shortcomings like dimming of the image and I have a bit of a time focusing at times.
Overall: 6.5 (out of 10)